Characteristics of correct conduct
One of the great problems of human communication is the tendency to misunderstand what others are saying and doing. That is especially true in our era in which so much communication is done through short written messages—email, text. We often communicate through little bursts of writing, and in doing so, it’s easy to miscommunicate. It’s hard to fully grasp what the writer is trying to say.
Paul had that same problem. Not that he was communicating through email or text, but the people of the church didn’t fully understand what he was saying and what he was doing. The book of 2 Cor is an effort to help the church better understand his teaching and his conduct.
We are now ready to get into the body of the letter itself. Remember that the first part of the book gives us Paul’s Explanation of His Conduct and Apostolic Ministry (chapters 1-7). The first 11 verses of the book are mostly introductory. Starting in 1:12, Paul begins to explain himself to his readers.
And he has to explain himself because he had heard of various accusations or complaints against him. Some of the people in the church at Corinth were very critical of Paul; they opposed him and found fault with him. He wanted to address these issues, and he does it by showing that there was nothing in his conduct to warrant this kind of opposition or criticism.
The main verb in this passage is “we conducted ourselves” – it’s actually just one word in the original language (ἀνεστράφημεν)—“we behaved.” The KJV uses the words “we had our conversation,” but the word refers to daily behavior; i.e., conduct, lifestyle, how you live, not just how you talk.
In our world, unless you are hermit, it’s almost impossible to avoid criticism. Someone is always going to find fault with what you say or how you live. Because we are imperfect people, someone will always notice and point out our failures, no matter how small they might be.
The response to such criticism is consistently godly behavior. When you live an honest, sincere, and godly lifestyle, you can be confident that criticisms are untrue.
In this short passage, we have several characteristics of correct conduct. These characteristics were true of Paul, and they should be true of us as well. We should be careful to make sure our conduct is correct. How should we conduct ourselves?